Red Pens

The little Hispanic girl at the stationer's
on Park Avenue South just now
asked me my name, and repeated Tonio
when I replied Tony. ¿Estranjero? Is
he a foreigner? she asked her
embarrassed mother,
the proprietor, as I was leaving with
the red pens I had bought
for editing English but now
used to delete the No,
fué nacido aquí
I had been about to say,
to show that I too was a native.

From Voices of the City, edited by Rosamond King, Charles Russell, Marie Carter, and Robert Hershon. Copyright © 2004 by Tony Towles. Reprinted by permission of Hanging Loose Press. All rights reserved.